Radio Reflections

Socially engaged networks, embodied interactions, participatory
collaborative informal esoteric floating oceans of conversation.
Radio in Transit receiving and transmitting from wherever you are.

The process of conversation has been shifted and re-interpreted for me in a number of ways through undertaking this project. The first night at r e: set live improv in the transit lounge provided a space for meeting new people and forced me to overcome shyness, asking complete strangers to sit down and talk with me, then having old friends eager to catch up. Listening to them again in the following days as they are uploaded to the website, I find myself experiencing a strange sense of instant nostalgia, memories forced into being before their natural time to re-surface.

“I like the freedom of being suspended between two places; all anxieties of purpose taken care of – for this moment I know where I’m going.”

After three days of Pixelache Festival madness in Helsinki, not only did every pixel ache, I began to feel like a conversation vampire, sucking the words out of people. Anytime there was a good conversation and it wasn’t recorded I had a sense of loss, and felt out-of-sorts when drifting through the Kiasma lounge with no-one to talk to.

Eventually this prompts me to create a more structured framework, so that in the time ‘off’ I can talk naturally, without the pressure of wishing to trace every word through the microphone.

Eric Minkkinen my neighbour in the lounge area, convinces me to sign up and ‘perform’ a conversation for his leplacard heaphone concert.

I talk with Keirjsti, a Norwegian conceptual artist whose work with knitting and capital punishment left me speechless, as she tells me ‘art is my home.’

Home is a very temporary place… and most of it maybe in ones heart or somewhere in ones body… the Portuguese and Brasilians have this beautiful word for this strange kind of longing to leave but never really arriving …. saudades…

On returning to Berlin, to the incessant longing that is never satisfied by one place alone, I found my relationship to conversation shifts yet again through the prism of history and personal stories collected and told in ‘Stasiland’. The process of monitoring and documenting conversation became filtered through the resonance of the past specific to this place. It is layered with the apparatus of power, with the assumption: “if we are watching you, ergo you are an enemy of the state”. The power of radio to transmit information from the ‘other side’ of the wall is a common theme, when the decision was made to allow free travel across Berlin, this news also came over the radio.

Listening back to the collections of voices from Helsinki with this in mind, I am struck by how many of the artists and random people I spoke to expressed anti-authoritarian and overtly political views, questioning the currently dominant capitalist social framework and ideology.

Interrogating the technology itself with Armin Medosch (R.I.P.) who was inventing a new radio of voices; questioning the value of the concept and framework of participation by Andrew Paterson; exploring violence and harmony through the writing of Teemu Maki; explicitly recording ‘permission to use this conversation’ as instructed by the executive producer at ABC Radio; finding new forms of interaction with multiple pathways and endless associations. Now a new conversation has started, and we continue to listen to the voices of freedom on the air and in our hearts.

“How easy it is for the interviewer to assume moral authority by virtue of the fact ‘he’ gets to ask the questions”

Anna Funder ‘Stasiland’

Indeed, and to wield the editing tool. Hence my decision to allow the listener to choose their own points of interest and entropy, intrigue and decay.

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